Several local motorists are still dealing with engine troubles from water in the gas at the Circle K at Youree and Southfield. Louisiana's Commissioner of Agriculture Mike Strain explains what typically causes water in gas pumps.

What Causes These Problems?

"Normally what happens," Strain says, "We have a bad storm (and) either the cap or top of the (station's) main tank has not ben screwed down tight enough or there's a break in the tank. Those are the most common causes. We have a big rain storm and water can get into the fuel.

"Our managers heard of the problem, went to the store and found water there. We immediately red-tagged the pumps and the station's field technicians (to) pump it out, put in new fuel. They find out what the problem is...and we test it again.

"They cannot sell gas until it has been tested and cleared after all the problems have been corrected."

So, What's the Fix to Watered-Down Gas?

And what does correcting the tank problems entail? "Normally, with ethanol fuels, they're allowed an quarter of an inch of water at the bottom of the tank and for non-ethanol fuels up to two inches" says Strain, "Now, if we find water when we pump the fuel, then we red-tag it."

Then Strain explains what recourse there is for car owners whose vehicles may have been damaged. ""It's a civil matter between them and the insurance company and station itself," he says, "We're regulatory. We're there to clean up the station. If we red-tag (the station), if they pull the tags off and keep selling fuel, they would be fined. But in most cases, this is not intentional and the companies do everything they can to get back into compliance."

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